Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Full Public Release of the ZAS Database of Clause-Embedding Predicates


The database was originally conceived and designed by Barbara Stiebels and built up over several years by a team of researchers and student assistants. Since 2014, ZAS has been preparing a publicly accessible version in collaboration with Peter Meyer and Carolin Müller-Spitzer at the Institute for the German Language (IDS) in Mannheim, using their OWID-plus platform for lexical and lexicographic resources and a purpose-built, extremely powerful and intuitive search interface, developed by Peter Meyer. Version 1.0 of the contemporary German portion of the database is now publicly accessible online at the following URL: http://www.owid.de/plus/zasembed/

This version contains 1,793 predicates, whose embedding behavior is demonstrated by 16,804 corpus examples. The predicates and examples are each coded for a series of grammatical and lexical properties, and the interface allows you to construct searches making use of all of them. It will let you try out very simple queries with a few intuitive clicks and keystrokes, giving you immediate feedback, filtering the results in real time. But it will also let you build sophisticated queries with arbitrary boolean combinations of criteria applying to properties of both examples and predicates in order to track down exactly what you're interested in. Complete documentation of the database and the search interface, including a tutorial on how to build advanced searches (the User's Guide) is also integrated into the interface itself.

We invite you to explore the database, play around with the interface, and see what research questions you can pursue with it. Of course, you are very welcome to pass the word along to anyone you think might be interested. The database is available free of charge and will remain so in future versions. The online documentation includes a section entitled 'Correct use of the database' which details the (rather modest) conditions of use, including information about proper citation and how to include source information if you use examples from the database in any publications. Since last year's Public Beta release version, we have added export functionality, which lets you download the output of a search as a spreadsheet file for further local processing. To use this, just send us a message (at the email address listed below), with your name, institutional affiliation (if any), a note on how you heard about the database, and a sentence or two describing why you are interested in the database and what you intend to use it for. We will then send you a password to enable export. We ask for this information with the sole purpose of understanding how the database is being used as well as how we may further develop it and spread the word. Of course, we will not share the information with any third parties.

The database is an ongoing development, and we will be releasing new versions in the coming years with additional data and any bug fixes. We are therefore very much interested in feedback about any problems you may come across as well as your impression of the database and its search interface. Please send us any comments or questions at:  zas-datenbank@leibniz-zas.de